My obituary should follow the basic rules of a resume: after a few years it’s okay to exclude the early years. You can omit my place of birth, high school, and failed athletic endeavors. There is also no need to list all the people I’m survived by. This isn’t a contest.
You don’t need to speak to my professional successes, but please do mention that I was a writer. I don’t know what I’ll be doing then, but I know I’ll still be a writer. It’s the only thing I’ve always been. Please say my novel was almost finished.
I’m sorry there aren’t any accomplishments of note: I’m a mediocre housekeeper and have no trophies to speak of, but I hope those aren’t the things you’re considering for my slim, final column. Talk about how much I love toast and staying hotels and Stuart the cat. Mention how good my salad dressings are or how I always leave the cabinet doors open and buy cars without remembering to test-drive them.
Please don’t include any quotes by Mother Teresa or Jesus. Just say I knew I made the right choices and picked the right people and in the end I really did feel whole.
Tell people you’re accepting casseroles, but nothing made with Campbell’s Cream of Anything. You’re supposed to be watching your sodium.
And if you get overwhelmed, it’s okay to keep it simple. “She was great and now she’s gone.”